Sunday, June 4, 2017

Northwest Gifted Child Associate Legislative Alert

LEGISLATIVE ALERT
I apologize in advance for the length of this message but the issue calls for a deep explanation. It is imperative that the community of people supporting highly capable education Insist that legislators include appropriate funding for highly capable programs in the current budget being negotiated. While we do not want to be alarmist, it is possible that any funding done this year will serve as the floor for funding for the next several decades. This deserves your immediate attention and action. What follows is support information you will need to make an effective appeal to your legislator, and other key legislators if you are willing to take the extra effort.
A child's educational program must be appropriately ambitious and every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives. That is one of the main purposes of the Highly Capable Program.
 
The Legislature has not yet begun serious negotiations on the next budget. However, the McCleary Work Group is supposed to be meeting at least weekly to prepare the education portion of the budget. They have before them all the research conducted when they were the Education Funding Task Force plus the 3 budget proposals this year, and they are reportedly at a stalemate. There are persistent rumors that the budget will not be ready until late June!
 
The proposed 2017-2018 funding levels for highly capable programs in all three budgets won't even allow districts to continue the services they offer today. 
 
Neither the Governor's, the House, nor Senate budget proposals address the persistent and pervasive underfunding of gifted education, and all will do harm to our state's gifted learners. 
 
Both House and Senate proposals continue to limit services to 2.314% of our state's enrollment, or about 25,530 students. The Governor's proposal raises the percentage slightly but not significantly. 
 
But - in 2015-2016, districts identified and served 63,551 gifted students. All of these students deserve their appropriate, fully funded basic education. They have been waiting since 2009.
 
The cost for educating most of the 38,000 students above the state limit is paid for from local levy funds. Local levy funds are not to be used for basic education, and HCP IS BASIC EDUCATION.
 
At a minimum, the state needs to allocate an amount that covers the actual costs of providing services to our 63,500 plus identified gifted learners. To provide for improvements in the program that are essential to address issues of equity will require more. Providing the professional development necessary to build teacher capacity in the identification and service of gifted students costs money. Making changes to our referral and identification processes also has a cost.
 
What you need to do today!!
Please contact your Legislators today and ask them to contact the members of 1) the McCleary group and 2) the budget negotiators (listed below). Tell them that the Legislature needs to fund the recommendations of the 2010 Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group. The recommendations immediately below include all the issues outlined in the above paragraph.
*Fund 5% of enrollment
*Fund 6.5 hours per week in grades K-6
*Fund 3.1 hours per week in grades 7-12
 
If you have contacted your Legislators before on this topic, please do so again. If you have not yet done so, please do so now while your input can still have an effect.
 
Unsure of your message? May we suggest:
 
Districts serve 63,551 highly capable students. The state funds only ~25,530. It is the state's responsibility to fully fund gifted education as part of basic education. Adopt and fund the Recommendations of the Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group of 2010. The current funding allocation of 2.314% of a school district's population is a FATAL FLAW that assures a lack of equity in highly capable education for the unforeseen future. Do not embed this FATAL FLAW into current budget language, thus dooming under-represented populations who desperately need to be identified and served. Districts serve 63,551 highly capable students. The state funds only ~25,530. It is the state's responsibility to fully fund gifted education as part of basic education. Adopt and fund the Recommendations of the Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group of 2010. The current funding allocation of 2.314% of a school district's population is a FATAL FLAW that assures a lack of equity in highly capable education for the unforeseen future. Do not embed this FATAL FLAW into current budget language, thus dooming under-represented populations to a lack of services. These are students who desperately need to be identified and served.
* Fund 5% of enrollment
* Fund 6.5 hours per week in grades K-6
* Fund 3.1 hours per week in grades 7-12"
Please contact the members of the McCleary Work Group and the budget negotiators and urge them to implement these recommendations.
 
You can find and email your Legislator using the District finder at http://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder, or you can use the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. Hot Line operators will write down your message and transmit it to your Legislator(s) so plan out in advance what you want to say, write it down, and then read it to the operator to be sure it says exactly what you want it to say.
 
Most Legislators are currently at home in their districts. Some have district offices. If they do, for House members, they will be listed at  http://leg.wa.gov/House/Pages/DistrictOffices.aspx and for Senators  http://leg.wa.gov/Senate/Senators/Pages/default.aspx. Both sites are in (mostly) alphabetical order; scroll down to yours to see if there is a district office. Try to make an appointment to meet with your legislator(s) as soon as possible.
 
Thank you for taking action to gain full, ample, and equitable funding for highly capable services. 63,551+ gifted students in Washington are counting on you!
 
        🗣                🗣                🗣                🗣       
 
Key Legislators your Legislators need to contact are listed below. If you are feeling especially energetic and motivated, after you contact your Legislators, you can contact the key legislators directly yourself. Email addresses are Firstname.Surname@leg.wa.gov.
 
McCleary Work Group
 
Rep. Pat Sullivan
Rep. Kristine Lytton
Rep. Paul Harris
Rep. David Taylor
Sen. Ann Rivers
Sen. Christine Rolfes 
Sen. Andy Billig
Sen. John Braun
 
Budget Negotiators
 
Rep. Timm Ormsby, Chair, House Appropriations Committee
Rep. June Robinson, Vice Chair, House Appropriations Committee
Rep. Bruce Chandler, Ranking, House Appropriations Committee
 
Rep. Frank Chopp, Speaker of the House 
Rep. Pat Sullivan, Majority Leader
Rep. Dan Kristianson, House Republican Caucus leader
 
Sen. John Braun, Chair, Senate Ways and Means Committee
Sen. Dino Rossi,  Vice Chair Senate Ways and Means Committee
Sen. Kevin Ranker, Ranking, Senate Ways and Means Committee
Sen. Christine Rolfes, Assistant Ranking, Senate Ways and Means Committee
 
Sen.  Mark Schoesler, Senate Republican Caucus leader
Sen. Sharon Nelson, Senate Democratic Caucus leader
 
 
  
  

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